The fall weather has been beautiful and central Minnesota is in its peak of fall colors. The wet fall has our pastures and cattle in excellent condition and ready for the oncoming winter.
Pettit Pastures has been rotationally grazing and winter feeding our cattle on pasture to improve soil health for several years now. Although we have seen our pastures slowly improving with better water cycling, more plant diversity, and more productivity, we felt that we were still missing something to get our farm as productive as possible. We plant high quality summer annuals and strip graze our finishing cattle through them, but we just haven’t gotten the average daily gains that experts in the Grass fed industry tell us are possible. We have been doing lots of research to try to figure out what exactly is lacking. Our research brought us to a term we were unfamiliar with, Brix.
Brix is the mineral/sugar ratio of the plant cell protoplasm. The higher the carbohydrate in the plant juice, the higher the mineral content of the plant, the oil content of the plant, and the protein quality of the plant. Plants with higher Brix levels will have a higher sugar content, higher protein content, higher mineral content and thus be a more nutritious plant.
To increase the Brix levels of our pastures, we must improve our soils. As I stated previously, we have been taking many steps to improve our soils; however, what we were doing was not enough to raise our levels significantly. This is what led us to the decision to start working with a soil health consultant. We started working with our consultant last winter and have started implementing his ideas to improve our soils and our forage quality.
Over the next several months, I will outline our journey to optimize our soil. Also, how soil health directly affects the nutritional quality of the plants grown on it and how that affects the health of whatever consumes those plants. So make sure to follow along as we explain and document our journey to improve the health of our soils.
We have our fall butcher date coming up and we still have beef available to be reserved. If you still need to stock up on beef before the winter get your order in before October 26 to reserve your beef.
Have a happy and safe Halloween!